Tax Day. Laundry. Deadline. Carpool. Do we need to be reminded of the stress inherent in parenting and juggling all our roles? Apparently, the month of April is designated for just such an assessment, and there are even greeting cards for the occasion (please don’t send one).
We began the month with school closing early due to threatening weather. In the midst of a fully scheduled day, the school closing notification arrived and suddenly there were 30 minutes with which to scramble and get to the school for pick up. The practices, ballgames, and carefully orchestrated evening plans had to be unwound somehow, and that was to say nothing of the frightening weather conditions.
What does a BirminghamMom do?
1. Most obvious: The Spouse. The jobs of household management, discipline, and homework oversight are much more agreeable when there are two adults sharing the responsibilities. At least it’s half the stress for each of you, and you’re in it together, albeit sometimes with clenched teeth.
2. Find a wife. That’s right – a wife of your own such as a neighbor or friend who can assist when you can’t get to the school immediately or you need to rush an injury to the emergency room and leave the kids in capable hands. Of course, you’ll gladly return the favor and then some, because you know how important it is to have help. Is your mother or mother in law nearby? Even better! You have a BirminghamMom of your own.
3. Befriend your freezer and pamper your pantry. Always have a few back up meals in the freezer, and while a Stouffer’s lasagna may not compare to your family recipe, there are times when it is your ticket to sanity. Canned goods are a great comfort incase of a power outage, even if you do ultimately give in and go to Waffle House (do they have generators, or do they just have access to a secret power grid?).
4. Train the kids. It is amazing how much stress is taken from your day when you allow and expect the kids to handle as much of their own business as possible. Of course, this depends on the age of the child, but it isn’t necessarily a transfer of stress from you to them because they enjoy having a job to do, while for you it’s one more thing on a long list. Sure, we need to teach them responsibility. For Stress Awareness Month, we’re all about what’s in it for us.
5. Hire help. There are moms who consider this their right as a citizen, and there are moms for whom this would be a last resort. If you can afford it (your time is worth more than you think), get some help where it would matter most to you. A cleaning service can often give you a rough estimate over the phone; Samford University will announce your need for childcare/shuttle service among students who have asked for referrals . Why not see what it would cost before you dismiss the idea?
Now, let’s just honor this stress awareness month by relaxing.